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20 Best Day Trips from London by Car & Train – Get out of London NOW!

Day Trips from London

Before we talk about day trips out of London, let’s make something clear: we all love London, innit? It’s an amazing city – there are so many great things to do in London! But, from time to time, we all need a break from the bustle of London – there is nothing better than day trips from London by car, or by train. From coast to castles, there’s a broad range to choose from many stunning day trips and adventures.

But how to find the best ideas for day trips from London?

Many of the great UK castles, cities, villages, and famous landmarks can be visited during one-day trips from London, when you travel by train, by car, or by coach.

Top 10 Day Trips from London: At a Glance

  1. St Albans
  2. Brighton
  3. Bath
  4. Stratford-upon-Avon
  5. Stonehenge
  6. Bibury
  7. Seven Sisters Cliffs
  8. Windsor
  9. Oxford
  10. Isle of Wight

10 not enough? Great news! We’ve put together an ultimate list of the Top 20 one-day trips from London: (10 trips by train and 10 trips by car). The visit must-see destinations including Stonehenge, Windsor Castle or Seven Sister Cliffs. Our cracking ideas of day trips from London will give you an opportunity to quickly escape from the city and then refresh your love for the capital of the UK again.

(If you don’t own a car, you can choose one of the car hire companies in Europe, so there is no excuse for not exploring England – there are way too many great places to visit in England 😉 )

Day Trips from London by Train

Here are the best day trips from London – a TOP 20 day trips you can do by car or train:

DAY TRIPS OUT OF LONDON

Looking to get out of the city for a few hours? Book a train ticket to one of the great destinations from our definitive list of best day trips from London, you can reach by train. Featuring spa cities, adventures in the great British countryside and amazing seaside towns.

Best day trips from London by train:

1. St Albans

Getting to St Albans by train: 20 mins from St Pancreas International.

Very easy day trip from London!

This gorgeous town isn’t far from London and takes less than an hour to reach by train. It has fantastic markets, a stunning cathedral, and plenty of pubs to sample on your way. With lots of history behind it and good shopping, it has everything you need. This stunning market town is really one of the best day trips out of London – have you been to St Albans yet?

Why St Albans is one of the best day trips from London?

St Albans has plenty to do; you can soak up history, take in its charming beauty and even take a walk around the Warner Bros Studio Tour of The Making of Harry Potter! 

Day Trips from London by Train - St Albans

2. Windsor

Getting there: 54 minutes to Windsor and Eaton Station via Southwest Trains

A must-do day trip from London!

The palaces in London are amazing, yes, but what about Windsor? Home of the Queen, the castle is worth spending a day in. Plus, there is loads of dining and shopping, as well as the polo club and racecourses. Kids and children at heart alike can also visit Legoland for a real day of fun.

Why Windsor is one of the top day trips out of London?

The home of Windsor Castle, there is something very regal about this particular part of the country. Not only is there plenty of royal-culture for you to enjoy, but if you fancy something more fun, Legoland can be found here too! 

Day Trips from London by train - Windsor
Windsor

3. Brighton

Getting to Brighton by train: 56 minutes from Victoria.

Very popular summer day trip from the capital city!

Also known as London by the sea, this city is a chilled and liberal place to visit on a weekend or your day off. The sand is good, the sea is perfect, and the fish and chips are arguably the best in the country. It’s full of life both during the day and at night, which makes it a pretty ideal place to take a trip to.

Why Brighton is a perfect one day trip from London?

Bright, colourful and right on the seafront, what more could Brighton offer? If you like to explore towns that are quirky and packed full of charm, then this is the place for you to head. 

Great Day Trips from London by Train - Brighton
Brighton

4. Oxford

Getting to Oxford by train: 60 minutes from London Paddington.

One of the best London day trips by train!

This academic city is full of beautiful architecture and scenery, making it a truly spectacular place to visit. The markets are vast and interesting, with a whole load of produce and wares that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. The architecture and design even span across the bridges, which are absolutely amazing to look at and walk across.

Why Oxford is one of the best day trips in the UK?

Known around the globe as one of the best university cities in the world. Many people come to Oxford to learn, but plenty of others come to explore its history. The old prison that was once housed in the Castle is a highlight. 

Top Day Trips from London by Train - Oxford
Oxford

5. Bath

Getting to Bath by train: 1.5 hours from Paddington in West London.

Interesting day trip out of London.

One of the most popular day-trips taken by people from the capital, and while it does take longer to get to than most, it is well worth the travel time. The Roman baths are the main attraction, but the yellow stone buildings are also incredibly romantic and make you feel as though you are in a piece of classical literature.

Why Bath is one of the best day trips from London by car?

The great thing about Bath is that not only is it a beautiful and charming city, with plenty of history to explore, but it also comes with some rather impressive shopping opportunities too. 

Day Trips from London by Train - Bath
Bath

6. Guildford

Getting to Guildford by train: 33 minutes from London Waterloo.

One of the best half-day trips from London.

This city is home to a castle, cathedral, and a wildlife reserve; making it a pretty vast and exciting place to explore. Whether you are into history, shopping, or dining out, there is something for the whole family to enjoy here. Plus, it’s not very far away from London at all.

Why Guildford is one of the top day trips around London?

Whilst many people think that Guildford is simply a sleepy commuter town, the truth is that is vibrant, fun and has plenty to do. It also boasts a beautiful canal network which is ideal for a leisurely walk. 

7. Margate

Getting to Margate by train: 1.5 hours from London St Pancras International.

Cheap day trips from London.

There are a few stations in London that travel to this seaside town, making it really easy to access – even if it does take a little longer to get to. There’s an amusement park, loads of shops, and some really hip cafes that line the seafront. Plus, you have an incredible art gallery, as well as delicious fish and chips.

Why Margate is one of the top London day trips by train?

Over the years Margate has reinvented itself. Rather than being an old-fashioned seaside town, it is now a cool place for all the hippest people to hang. Packed with bars, restaurants and so much more. 

Top Day Trips from London by Train - Margate
Margate

8. Cardiff

Getting to Cardiff by train: 2 hours 40 minutes from Paddington in West London.

One/two day trip from London.

The Norman castle here is definitely the most popular and exciting attraction. However, this Welsh city has a great deal of charm, as well as some lovely locals. Test out a few of the pubs, check out the sights, and enjoy what Wales does best: vast countryside. You can also do a day tour from Cardiff to Snowdon – the views and landscape are fantastic!

Why Cardiff is one of the top London days out ideas?

The capital city of Wales and a frankly rather amazing place to visit, there is so much to do in Cardiff. You can take a walk around the Castle or soak up all the shopping opportunities. You can even soak up the warmest of Welsh welcomes. 

Day Trips from London by Train - Cardiff
Cardiff

9. Bicester Village

Getting to Bicester by train: 60 minutes from Marylebone in London.

Day trip from London for shopping-lovers!

Situated in Oxfordshire, this village has some warm local pubs serving delicious food and alcohol for you to sample. It is also close to Blenheim Palace, which hosts a number of events throughout the year. This includes a horse show, jousting, fairs, and even English Heritage events. There’s loads to see and do, and you can even just spend the day walking the grounds.

Why Bicester Village is a top one day trip from London?

Fans of shopping are definitely going to love the Bicester Village located just outside of Oxford. Here is a Designer Outlet packed full of amazing brands that you can get at low prices. As well as plenty of places to eat, drink and relax too. 

Bicester Village - day trips from London
Bicester Village

10. Stratford-upon-Avon

Getting to Stratford-upon-Avon by train: 2 hours from Marylebone London.

Best day trip from London by train!

The home of Shakespeare, this gorgeous town looks like it was frozen in time – with many of the buildings dating back to the Tudors and beyond. Stratford-upon-Avon is one of the best places to visit in Cotswold. It might feel like a sleepy village, but it is full of hidden gems, delightful coffee shops, and some local businesses that you won’t want to miss out on.

Why Stratford-upon-Avon is one of the top day trips from London by train?

Literary fans will know that Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of Shakespeare. Aside from this rather amazing claim to fame, this wonderful town is also developed along the banks of the River Avon which means that it has plenty for people to see and do. 

Best Day Trips from London by Train - Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon

Best day trips from London by car:

Choose from a huge variety of London breaks and book one of the day-trips from London by car to see the remarkable English landmarks. If you’re planning to visit London for vacation, short weekend getaway will be a fantastic addition to your itinerary – and there is so much to see and explore outside of London. Many of the attractions are close enough to the capital to get there and back in a day – all you need to do is rent a car 🙂

Read also: How many days do I need in London?

11. Stonehenge

Getting to Stonehenge: 2 hours by car from West London.

A must-do day trip out of London by car!

One of the oldest and most mysterious sites in this country, it is a wonder of the world, as well as a protected location. For those who live near Salisbury, it is something seen every day, and yet it doesn’t lose its magic. There is a little café on site, but stopping in the city has better, wider, options. Visiting Stonehenge during summer months is always a great idea and it should be added to any travel bucket list 🙂

Why Stonehenge is one of the top day trips from London by car?

A historical marvel, Stonehenge has to be one of the most fascinating places in the UK. Not only will you wonder just how they made it, but you can almost feel the eerie wonder that it creates too. 

Day Trips from London by car - Stonehenge
Stonehenge

Going for a day trip to Stonehenge? Read more: Visiting Stonehenge – TOP Tips for 1st-time visitors

12. Isle of Wight

Getting to Isle of Wight from London: 3 hours (approx.) by car and ferry.

One of the best UK road trip ideas from London!

This little European island is known for its spectacular beaches, as well as its history and castles. It’s a quiet place, but the community is strong and welcoming, with plenty of tours of the areas available so that you can learn more about the stories behind it. Even driving by car around the island is a great experience – there are so many great things to do on the Isle of Wight. Ready for a road trip from London by car?

Why the Isle of Wight is one of the best day trips from London?

A short ferry ride from mainland UK, the Isle of Wight has to be one of the most beautiful spots that you can visit. Not only is it a seaside stop-off packed full of charm, but once a year it is also home to one of the biggest UK festivals too. 

Top 10 Day Trips from London by car - Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight

Weekend trip to the Isle of Wight? Read more: Isle of Wight things to do – TOP 11 attractions & places to visit on the I.o.W.

13. Cobham Surrey

Getting to Cobham: 40 minutes by car from South London.

Great half-day trip around London.

Also known as a part of “Britain’s Beverly Hills”, Cobham is a hotspot for celebrities. However, it also has a rich history with some magnificent churches and buildings dating back to the 12th Century. It also has a rich motor and aviation history, with an exhilarating track and museum nearby for you to visit.

Why Cobham is a top day trip around London?

Cobham might only be a village, but it still offers plenty to see and do. Brooklands Museum is fascinating and the Crystal Grotto is a must-see too. 

Top 10 Day Trips from London by car - Cobham Surrey
Cobham Surrey

14. New Forest

Getting to New Forest: 2 hours by car from West London.

Great photography day trip from London.

Full of walks and places to eat, the New Forest is home to many things. You can visit the wild horses and donkeys, walk for a good ten miles without stopping, or stay in the pub all day eating and drinking. It’s such a vast area, with so many options to make your trip worthwhile.

Why New Forest is a great day trip out of London?

As the name suggests, one thing that you can expect to see in this particular part of the UK is a forest. What you might not expect is just how stunning the New Forest really is, as well as how beautiful the local residents (the ponies) are too. 

15. Cheddar Gorge

Getting to Cheddar Gorge from West London: 3 hours by car.

Unique day trip from London!

This is where Britain’s oldest complete skeleton was found, the Cheddar Man, who was estimated to be around 9,000 years old. The gorge and caves are natural wonders, with hundreds to secrets to be explored in their depths. You can even go rock climbing if you feel brave enough, and the tours are absolutely fantastic.

Why Cheddar Gorge is one of the top day trips from London by car?

A fascinating insight into prehistoric life, Cheddar Gorge is ideal for those who love caving and rock climbing of course. But for families, a simple walk into the underground caves is enough to keep you entertained.

Cheddar Gorge - best day trips from London
Cheddar Gorge

Fancy to get Cheddar cheese during a day trip from London? 🙂 Read more: Cheddar Gorge caves vs. Cheddar Gorge cliff-top walk

16. Bibury

Getting to Bibury: 2 hours and 10 minutes by car from West London.

Best day trips from London in March.

This charming Cotswold village is the perfect way to escape the hustle of the city and lead a quieter life for a day. It is only one of the most romantic villages in Europe.

The remains of an ancient Roman estate make for interesting viewing, and there are plenty of long walks and pubs to fil your day. There is also a National Trust site if you really want to get into the area.

Why Bibury is a perfect one day trip from London?

You will be hard-pressed to find a village that is as beautiful as Bibury. Not only a chosen location for many a TV show and movie, but it is also the go-to choice for people wanting to get married in the Cotswolds too. A truly stunning spot!

Top 10 Day Trips from London by car - Bibury
Bibury

Going by car to the Cotswolds? Read more: Best places to visit in the Cotswolds: Things to do & Top tourist attractions!

17. Seven Sisters Cliffs

Getting to Seven Sisters: 2 hours by car from South London.

Independent day trip from London with stunning views!

This series of chalk cliffs can be found between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne in Sussex. They are contained within the South Downs National Park, a beautiful reserve where you can take long walks that overlook the sea. The trail, the scenery, and being surrounded by the natural world is just what the body needs to recover from city life. This is one of the best places to visit in Europe, and definitely in the UK.

We can easily say that this was one of our favourite day trips from London by car – there is nothing better than stunning coastline views 🙂

Why Seven Sisters cliffs is a stunning day trip out of London?

Found in East Sussex, The Seven Sisters are a series of chalk cliffs that can be seen from the English Channel as you cross over to France. They are beautifully crisp and white and are a local landmark. 

Best Day Trips from London by car - Seven Sisters Cliffs
Seven Sisters Cliffs

Is Seven Sisters on your weekend trip list? Read more: Best Guide to SEVEN SISTERS Cliffs Walk in Sussex, England

18. Peak District

Getting to Peak District from London: 3 hours and 30 minutes by car.

Amazing two day trip from London!

Located in central England, there are so many things to do here. Countless walks mean you get a whole variety of trails, and there are also routes that are disabled and pushchair friendly if you need something more accessible. With pubs dotted regularly across most of the walks, as well as quiet villages, it makes for a truly adventurous day trip; or maybe a long weekend?

Why Peak District is a great weekend trip from London by car?

As the name suggests, the Peak District is one area that you will find plenty of hills to explore. A national park, it is the home to some of the very best views in the UK, not only this, but it is not far from Alton Towers, ideal for families. 

19. Cambridge

Getting to Cambridge: 1 hour and 20 minutes by car from North London.

One of the best winter day-trips from London.

Located on the River Cam in eastern England, Cambridge is home to a very prestigious University of Cambridge. They are currently ahead of Oxford University in the famous boat race – make sure you watch the race live 😊

Fitzwilliam Museum is worth to visit if you fancy old things – yes, they call them antiquities 😉 Otherwise admiring Mathematical Bridge or the Bridge of Sighs (named for a famous Venice landmark) is a good option too!

Wy Cambridge is one of the best day tours around London?

Another city that is famed for its University and educational prospects, Cambridge is also incredibly beautiful to visit as well as packed full of culture that you can almost absorb during your time there. 

Renting-a-car-in-Europe-guide

20. Bournemouth

Getting to Bournemouth: 2 hours and 30 minutes by car from West London.

A sea-side trip from London in one day?

One of the best beaches and towns in the south, Bournemouth has so much to offer. The aquarium by the sea is home to plenty of marine life, and the Hilton isn’t far from the coast if you want afternoon tea or to visit the sky bar. Plus, Westbeach is a restaurant right on the coast that offers fresh, local, and delicious food all day.

Why Bournemouth is one of the best day trips from London by car?

A truly beautiful Dorset seaside town. Not only is Bournemouth ideal for families wanting to spend the day on the seaside, but it is also perfect for those who want to spend some time dancing the night away too. 

Amazing Day Trips from London by car - Bournemouth
Bournemouth

What is your favourite day trip from London?

What are your top 5 day trips from London, England? Is any of our ideas on your bucket list ideas UK? Or you have your secret locations? 🙂

Did you know that you can visit London in one day?

Other day trips out of London:

What about going to Europe? OK, you can’t really do a day trip from London but you can easily spend a great weekend in Bruges or Amsterdam. So whether you drive or take a train you can do many trips from London outside of England 🙂

Read also: Where is the best place for Road Trip in Europe? Europe’s TOP 15 Roads

Are you thinking about moving to the capital city? Learn about the best places to live in London!

Day Trips from London by car

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